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Verizon sues Pennsylvania American Water Co. over broken underground line

| Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Verizon claims in a civil lawsuit that a water company and one of its contractors hit an underground Verizon line in Fayette County and now owes the communications company $286,072.

Pennsylvania American Water Co., with an office in Uniontown, and Lee's Plumbing and Excavating of German Township are named as defendants in the six-count lawsuit filed on Monday in the prothonotary's office.

Verizon contends neither the water company nor Lee's contacted Pennsylvania One Call — a service that maintains information about the location of utility lines — before the contractor started a project at the corner of Morgantown and Main streets in Uniontown on Sept. 1, 2012.

As a result, one of Verizon's underground lines was damaged, according to the lawsuit.

Cost to repair the damaged line is listed in the lawsuit as $286,072, with $127,097 in labor costs, $102,163 to a contractor and $41,088 for materials, according to the lawsuit.

Verizon is claiming negligence and a violation of the Pennsylvania One Call statute.

Under the statute, anyone who is planning an excavation is to contact Pennsylvania One Call, then wait a “reasonable time” for the agency to respond before work gets under way, according to the lawsuit.

Both Josephine Posti, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania American Water, and Bob Jurosco of Lee's declined to comment on Monday because neither has seen the lawsuit.

No one from Verizon returned a phone call seeking additional details on the type of line that was damaged, or how long customers were without service.

Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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